The theatre, amazingly transformed to the Cathedral, and filled to capacity was pregnant with anticipation. People of all ages, and every walk of life, from everywhere in the diocese, and beyond were gathered to witness the ordination – of course “Trinis” were well represented. It was quite reassuring to see a sizeable showing of the youth – an indication of a hopeful future.
At one point I heard a “whir” that seemed infectious, and I wondered why. The sanctuary revealed the answer; Bishop Emeritus Sydney Charles was wheeled in. The congregation got to its feet and led by the choir, burst forth in appreciation and love for him. A glance around revealed the poignancy of the moment – several were tearful.
The entrance renditions were powerful. The African piece “Sing Now to God our Saviour” lustily sung by the choir, set a celebratory mood. How apt it was too, that “Tell of my love to the Islands” – Father Harvey’s composition was rendered. It was euphoric. That was the top of the mountain.
How was the Bishop-Elect? He was ram-rod straight and tall – a formidable figure, yet he radiated such gentleness and inner peace, that it was astounding. It struck me too how his body language from the beginning of the celebration, revealed such humility – making himself “small” before the Lord.
By the time Archbishop Rivas began his homily, the mood was sombre and contemplative. He assured us that Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey was coming to us with a big heart of love, imitating Jesus Christ. He challenged us to change gears. In fact, he invited deep introspection in his question “Do you want to stay in the tomb of the past or rise to new beginnings?” Yes he was also quite inspiring, and reassured us that our new bishop will work with us to heal and build bridges. How comforting those words were. He echoed the sentiments of Pope Francis to Bishop Clyde, “This is a time for listening to what he Spirit is saying, so to hear the voice of the Lord, you need to ‘make yourself small’ … when one is made a bishop, it is not a promotion, but a call to serve.” The contemplative mood was punctuated with joy evident in Archbishop Rivas’ invitation to sing “When Jesus Say Yes, Nobody Can Say No”
At the close of the ordination I felt a sense of fulfilment – the day was long – and I was tired but it was such a beautiful and moving experience that I can weave a rich tapestry in my mind, even when I have come down from the mountain. I certainly look forward with “great expectation”.